2012 ACC Champs

Florida State held off a late surge from Georgia Tech to capture its first Atlantic Coast Conference championship since 2005. Running back James Wilder Jr. was named the MVP as he led FSU with 69 yards rushing on ten carries and two touchdowns.

The 21-15 victory gave FSU its thirteenth ACC title, now just one behind the all-time mark of 14 held by Clemson.

The double-digit favored Seminoles did not make things easy on themselves despite dominating the first half and building an 15-point lead at halftime.

At the time, the 21-6 lead by the Seminoles gave reason to believe that Georgia Tech might get blown out, but the second half was a different story and it wasn't really over until Karlos Williams intercepted Tevin Washington with one minute remaining in the fourth quarter.

Williams, who has played safety for most of the year, was thrust in to the action when starting linebacker Nick Moody went down early in the game with a head injury forcing him to sit out the entire game.

"It was a great week of practice," Williams said. "It was all about playing sound defense and winning. I was behind Moody all week getting good reps, making sure I knew my assignments and alignments, and after he went down my name was called. That's the game of football, you've got to go out there and step up."

The Yellow Jackets defense really slowed the Seminoles down in the second half in large part due to a pair of E.J. Manuel turnovers, which is the only reason they climbed back in the game.

The Seminoles offense came out in the second half and did exactly what many fans feared it would, which is be conservative. Luckily for them, though, the FSU defense also did what it has done the entire season.

"In the second half we came out and had some self-inflicted things," Fisher said. "I thought we played a great first half on both sides of the ball, then the defense continued to play well in the second half but on offense we just shot ourselves in the foot."

While the FSU offense laid an egg in the second half, the defense found a way to hold off the Yellow Jackets and seal the deal for the Seminoles.

Georgia Tech's triple-option offense can give opposing defenses fits with just a week to prepare for it. Coming in to the game, GT averaged 40 points per game in ACC play this season and 323 yards rushing per game, third best in the country.

But FSU defensive coordinator Mark Stoops had all the answers for it in his last game as a member of the staff. His defense held GT to just 183 yards rushing and 15 points.

Just a week removed from an emotional loss against arch-rival Florida, FSU showed the maturity that head coach Jimbo Fisher has talked about all season long. Past FSU teams may have suffered a letdown game in this situation. To Fisher, the fact that FSU found a way to win the game and become ACC Champs says a lot about the growth of his program moving forward.

"Good teams win games in different ways," Fisher said. "The Clemson game we outscored them, this game we played great defense, the NC State game we couldn't make enough plays either way. But again, that's part of being a champion. There's a point and time when you look back and look at it and say ‘that was it.' That's the time you got over that hump and didn't let the circumstances blur your vision, and they did that."


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